Tim’s Hot Take: Discworld is Terrible

Good evening everybody, it is I, your favourite feline provocateur, raconteur and secateur aka Timothy the Talking Cat. In every community there must be somebody who is brave enough, far-sighted enough and clever enough to speak to mindless herds and lay down the cold, hard truth about their clumsy sheep-like opinions. This is not a role I take on lightly. It is a mantle that I would refuse like Caesar refusing the crown offered to him by March Antony and like Caesar I must endure the inevitable stabs as the so-called “elites” seek to silence me.

So let me lay this down straight without any preamble, without any delay or distraction. Let’s not beat around the bush or procrastinate before hitting you with the two big blows from the cricket bat of reality. Let’s get to the meat and potatoes and skip over the entrée or the communal plate of slightly disappointing garlic bread. Let us, as they say in Hollywood, ‘cut to the chase’.

Your beloved Discworld books are not very good and are actually quite terrible and the fact that you like them says bad things about you.

There, I said it.

Oh, yes I can see all of you eager to take on the role of Brutus. I can see your envious lean and hungry looks as you adopt the stance of Cassius. I know that you would cancel me on the steps of senate. Oh I see your knives sharpened already! Let me anticipate your traitorous blows:

  1. “You haven’t read any of the Discworld books” – of course I haven’t! I do not read terrible books!
  2. “You haven’t explained why you think the Discworld books are terrible” – of course I haven’t! I’m not going to waste my time explaining why I think the Discworld books are terrible when it should be obvious to anybody.
  3. “That’s not even an argument!” – oh and I’m supposed to accept your opinion of what is and isn’t an argument even though you are one of those losers who likes the Discworld books.
  4. “Why do you hate Terry Prachett?” – I do not hate Terry Prachett. I love him and I love his books.
  5. “Wait, do you even know who Terry Prachett is?” – of course I do! Why do you keep bringing up Terry Prachett?
  6. “You really have no idea what you are talking about, do you?” – of course I do! I am one of the greatest scholars of science fiction currently alive who is also a purple cat.
  7. “OK then name one book by Terry Prachett.” – Terry Prachett’s Great Big Book of Fun.
  8. “That’s not a real book. You just made that up!” – well that just shows how little you know of Terry Prachett’s bibliography.
  9. “Terry Prachett is the guy who WROTE the Discworld books you f–ing annoying overstuffed cat cushion!” – says the guy who had never even heard of Terry Prachett’s Great Big Book of Fun.
  10. “I give up. You are just wasting my time.” – Can you do a few more. I was hoping for 23 questions because Caesar was stabbed 23 times.
  11. “What is with all these Caesar references anyway? You were supposed to be talking about Discworld!” – I was going to make a Caesar salad and so I went to You Tube to do some research and I think I know what to do now but I’m not sure how to cross the Rubicon with a lettuce.
  12. “Friends, Romaines, Croutons! Lend me your cheese!” – now you are just being silly. If you can’t take the attempted murder of one of history’s great generals seriously then I’m not surprised that you are so in love with those terrible Discworld books. Also, I don’t need those walnuts I asked you to buy. They are for a Waldorf salad not a Caesar salad.

As Caesar said as he revealed the stab-proof vest he had hidden under his toga and then pulled out his Thompson sub-machine gun from out of his tunic: “quod erat demonstrandum mother-f-ckers”.

32 thoughts on “Tim’s Hot Take: Discworld is Terrible

  1. As a longtime gardener and gardening/word nerd, I’ve known the word “secateur” for ages. But you’ve made me wonder — why isn’t it used for all sorts of cutting implements — scissors, whatever — instead of just pruners?

    Things that make me go hmmmmm.

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    1. According to Wikipedia, they were invented by a French aristocrat in 1819. I’d guess the other words were too well-established.

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  2. TBH, Discworld is fine, but overrated.

    When they first came out, I loved Colour of Magic and Light Fantastic, and there was the occasional gem after that (I quite like Small Gods for example), but many of them are pretty weak (Moving Pictures, The Last Continent, Interesting Times).

    But the moment you say anything bad about any Discworld book, there’s a brigade of stans who show up to shout you down…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Confession: I read the first Discworld book (Colour of Magic?) back when it came out in the eighties and while it was fine I didn’t like it well enough to continue. I enjoyed Good Omens when I bought it on some godawful business trip a few years ago, though, so I’ve decided to rectify that.

      I just finished Hogfather and I guess I’m beginning to see what the fuss is about.

      In general, though, I tend to enjoy the sort of low key humor that comes out of the narrative voice that you’ll see in authors like Aaronovitch, Stross or Kingfisher. The humor in many of these books tends to be used more as leavening. I think part of the reason I didn’t like The Colour of Magic all that much was that it tried too hard; Pratchett clearly got better at that as he went along.

      I also turned my nose up at Bujold for many years after disliking an early story she wrote. Tn retrospect this was *clearly* a mistake, so what the hell do I know?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The first couple of books were just parodies of fantasy fiction – I enjoyed them for what they were, but they aren’t representative of what the series became. I think the change began with Equal Rites, but by my reckoning Mort was a huge step forward. There were still some parodic elements but Discworld became it’s own thing.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. I’m with Michael — book 1 was so over-the-top silly that I didn’t really care what happened. I think I read one more book, but I’m not even sure anymore.

        But Michael, I’m going to have to work hard to not give you a lot of side-eye over Bujold!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. *whisper* shh, don’t let anyone know, but I agree with you. Discworld is decent, but overrated. And I think the first few books – the ones most fans thinks it’s OK to scoff at – are better than the later ones.

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      1. Connie Collins: And everyone’s taste differs. I loath Butcher’s writing, which my friends all seem to think is GOAT, you know?

        Yeah, I read Skin Game, which I found a terrible slog because it relied on the character development from all the previous novels instead of having its own, and The Aeronaut’s Windlass, which was just mediocre. So I’m pretty much done with that author. He’s in the bin now with KSR, Stephen King, David Weber, Christopher Priest, Liu Cixin, Charlie Jane Anders, and — sadly — Brandon Sanderson. (Neal Stephenson still has a gimme left from all of his wonderful early work, but he’s balancing on that precipice.)

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      2. Seriously, I’d rather read Austin, or Melville than Butcher. I quite like Chandler, “It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained-glass window.” Butcher is no Chandler, and adding fantasy elements doesn’t improve the situation for me, even though usually I’m all about mystery/fantasy hybrids.

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  3. There’s a *footnote* in “Moving Pictures” that literally made me fall out of my chair laughing. And I was in a hotel lobby at the time, so.

    I tend to prefer the Vimes and City Watch, and the Witches/Tiffany books.

    I came in a few books into it and didn’t read “Colour of Magic” until maybe 20 years late, so it didn’t put me off.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Despite all the raves I never got around to reading Pratchett til maybe 3-4 years ago. I started with the Tiffany Aching books, which are tremendous, character-driven books seasoned with humor. And I thought, wow, I’ve been missing out! Then I mined some of the books from the middle of his career because I recognized the titles, and they were pretty entertaining. Next, having read that The Colour of Magic was weak, I skipped that and bought his second book and started reading forward in order til I quit. And I have to say I accidentally ended up reading Pratchett in what seems the most profitable way — start with his best, read some clever mid-career books, then go back to the beginning and quit when it feels like he’s working too hard to be clever.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Yeah, the ones at the end of Discworld I bought for the sake of completion. I might have found them unobjectionable, except I knew how much better the earlier books were.

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